New analytical data supposedly backs the case for Martian life having once existed

Allen Hills Meteorite Thar be life? NASA

Martians may have already landed on Earth, at least in ancient microbial form. The same NASA team that discovered the controversial Allen Hills meteorite has shared new data that points to a biological origin for structures within the Martian rock, Spaceflight Now reports. NASA headquarters plans to officially address the new findings within days.

The Allen Hills meteorite sparked a huge debate in 1996 when both NASA and the White House announced the possible discovery of life from the red planet. President Bill Clinton gave a speech at the time that could perhaps sound prescient, if the new findings put scientific doubts to rest.

"It speaks of the possibility of life. If this discovery is confirmed, it will surely be one of the most stunning insights into our universe that science has ever uncovered," Clinton said.

The NASA scientists have recently scrutinized the meteorite with advanced High Resolution Electron Microscopy, and looked specifically at carbonate discs and magnetite crystals. They found that the structures show a chemical purity much more similar to a biological rather than geological signature, and have strong resemblance to so-called magnetic bacteria on Earth.

Scientists from NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston have detailed their findings in the November issue of the journal Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta. But other astrobiologists at NASA Ames Research Center near San Francisco and at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena have also been buzzing over the possible findings, according to Spaceflight Now.

Perhaps Earth may soon have a better answer to its longstanding questions about extraterrestrial life. If so, the War of the Worlds invasion tally is Mars 1, Earth 0.

[via Spaceflight Now]


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